Merkel cell carcinoma: CT findings in 12 patients

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1996 Sep;167(3):617-20. doi: 10.2214/ajr.167.3.8751663.


Objective: The purpose of this report is to determine CT imaging findings in patients with Merkel cell carcinoma.

Materials and methods: Fifty-three CT scans in 12 patients with biopsy-proven Merkel cell carcinoma were retrospectively reviewed with regard to size, location, and attenuation of primary skin lesions and visceral and lymph node metastases. Findings that were present in 12 patients form the basis of this report.

Results: Primary skin lesions were manifested on CT scans in four patients as cutaneous nodules that were hyper- or isodense in relation to muscle. Sites of metastases included regional lymph nodes (n = 6), distant lymph nodes (n = 11), the liver (n = 3), and subcutaneous fat (n = 4). We also found metastases in the mediastinum, the peritoneum, the adrenal gland, and the lung. Usually nodal and subcutaneous metastases were slightly hyperdense. Subcutaneous linear stranding was associated with the lesions.

Conclusion: CT is useful in the staging of Merkel cell carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / secondary
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed